2008 Audi S4 Expert Review

You'll Like The 2008 Audi S4 If...

If want a fun-to-drive convertible that doesn't skimp on luxury, the 2008 Audi S4 Cabriolet is a viable alternative to the omnipresent BMW 3 Series. It looks great and drives well, and you won't likely see another one coming down the road at you.

You May Not Like The 2008 Audi S4 If...

The styling is attractive but not necessarily aggressive enough for hard-core drivers. Enthusiasts may long for a bolder statement from the exterior design, and the performance and feel of rear-wheel drive.

What's New

Changes for 2008 are limited to an available factory iPod interface, standard SIRIUS Satellite Radio and heated front seats.

Interior Features

The interior of the Audi S4 Cabriolet looks upscale and cleverly incorporates design cues from the exterior, such as the shape of the trapezoidal grille duplicated in the airbag cover on the steering wheel. Aluminum vent surrounds have become a hallmark of Audi interiors and they are indeed present on the S4 Cabriolet. A standard brushed aluminum accent extends across the dash and back along the door panels, giving the interior a contemporary appearance. The interior trim is also available with racy-looking carbon fiber trim. Seating for four is comfortable both front and back, with reasonable legroom; however, shoulder room in the rear seats can be a little snug.

Exterior Features

There's no mistaking the 2008 Audi S4 Cabriolet for anything other than an Audi. The super-sized grille that's become a fixture throughout the rest of the Audi family has migrated to the convertible S4. New headlamps and taillights look modern and elegant, while bold fender flares add a sporty feel, especially when they're filled out with the standard 18-inch wheel and tire package. With the convertible top down and tucked away underneath the integrated tonneau cover, the Cabriolet has a very clean appearance. Contributing to the uncluttered exterior is the use of a plastic trunk lid that allows the GPS, Satellite and AM/FM antenna system to be completely hidden from view. To further distinguish the S4 Cabriolet from the run-of-the-mill A4 Cabriolet, the exterior is enhanced with large air inlets in the bumpers, aluminum-look casings for the exterior mirrors, V8 badges on the front fenders and four oval tailpipes.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Audi S4's Cabriolet accelerates rapidly, thanks to a powerful 340-horsepower V8. The steering is sharp and responsive, and directional inputs are greeted with a quick, precise reaction from the chassis. For a convertible, the S4 feels solid and resists shakes and rattles when the road gets bumpy. The magic of the S4 Cabriolet is driving with the top down. With the windows lowered there's enough wind to blow your hair around but, with the windows up and the optional wind blocker in place, the cabin becomes an almost still, quite comfortable place to enjoy the passing scenery. With its standard acoustic roof closed, the interior is quieted to near coupe levels.

Pricing Notes

The 2008 Audi S4 Cabriolet's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just over $59,000 and can run as high as $66,000 when fully loaded. Before you set out to buy be sure to check the Fair Purchase Prices to see what consumers are actually paying for this and other luxury convertibles. Resale value for the S4 Cabriolet is expected to remain quite strong, with residuals exceeding those of the Volvo C70, the Saab 9-3 and even the S4's chief competitor, the BMW 3 Series.

Notable Equipment

The S4 Cabriolet has an extensive list of standard equipment, including a power-retractable roof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, 10-speaker audio system with in-dash six-disc MP3 compatibility, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, power one-touch windows, speed control, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, an integrated ski sack and headlamp washer system. Standard safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Program (ESP), driver and passenger front- and seat-mounted airbags and active rollover protection system.

Notable Options

Audi offers an array of optional upgrades for the S4 Cabriolet. The Convenience Package includes an adaptive front lighting system, light and rain sensor for headlamps and wipers, Homelink universal garage door opener, auto-dimming exterior and interior mirrors and driver's-side memory for seat and mirror adjustments. Other options include a Bluetooth phone system, Navigation, an iPod interface, Bose premium sound, carbon fiber trim, heated rear seats, rear park assist and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Favorite Features

Convertible Top

The convertible top is what makes this version of the S4 so special. Hold the button down and the top quickly and quietly folds away, leaving the Cabriolet with a sleek, finished appearance.

The V8

The 4.2-liter V8 has just the right amount of power. It's never lacking when you need to accelerate, but the S4 remains docile and easy to use every day. It's a wonderful engine.

Under the Hood

The biggest difference between the 2008 Audi S4 Cabriolet and the lesser A4 Cabriolet is the 4.2-liter V8. With power to spare and a 7000-rpm redline, the S4 delivers power right when you need it and makes the S4 is an absolute blast to drive. Unfortunately, the downside to all that power is gas mileage in the mid-teens during city driving. Standard quattro all-wheel drive turns the Cabriolet into a car for all seasons.

4.2-liter V8

340 horsepower @ 7000 rpm

302 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 (manual), 14/21 (automatic)

Editors' Notes

After receiving an extensive revision last year, the 2008 Audi S4 Cabriolet continues as an alternative to Germany's other major convertible, the BMW 3 Series. The new Cabriolet offers luxury, technology, sporty handling and a strong visual connection to the rest of the Audi family, and is powered by a 340-horsepower V8. Audi hopes a high level of content, progressive style and an accessible price make a compelling case for drivers that like the wind in their hair.

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2008 Audi S4 Owner Reviews

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